It can’t have escaped your notice that the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) is just around the corner. This event, with a $25,000 buy-in, is scheduled for the Baha Mar Resort, Nassau, in the Bahamas from January 30 through February 3, 2023.
It seems almost certain to be the biggest tournament ever held with a buy-in of that amount. And its winner is likely to take home something in the region of $5 million.
Those stats are definitely a major factor in the universal description of the PSPC as one of the best poker tournaments ever to be played. But there’s more to it than just that.
Here’s where we spell it out: five reasons why the PSPC is the perfect poker tournament.
IT’S POKER’S DAVID V GOLIATH (FOR ROLLZ…)
The PSPC brings together players from all strata of the poker community. From elite pros who do this every week, to recreational players with a once-in-a-lifetime dream.
You will have heard by now about Platinum Passes, but here’s a reminder just in case. Over the past two and a bit years, ever since the second renewal of the PSPC was announced (and then postponed owing to factors out of everyone’s control), poker players from across the globe have been winning Platinum Passes.
These passes permit one entry to the tournament, as well as travel and hotel expenses. (In total, the package is worth $30,000.) But the best thing is that winning the pass usually costs a tiny fraction of that.
Players have been winning Platinum Passes through freerolls, through mystery chest drops, through various ambassador-led promotions. And through sheer persistence, or extraordinary, unconventional talents.
It means that the PSPC field is more diverse than any other in the entire poker world. Poker is always democratic, permitting anybody with the necessary funds to sit down. But the PSPC removes even that barrier. For many players, they haven’t needed to stump up anything like $25K. And there will be some total newbies out there as well as the established stars.
TICKING THE BOXES FOR PROS AND RECS ALIKE
Following on from the above, it’s no secret that in poker, some players will win and some will not. That’s just the way it goes. And in tournament poker specifically, with a sample size of one, the margin between success and failure can be wafer thin.
Bad beats are certain to happen. Total rookies will knock out established pros. Possibly after making the kind of moves that are far from what’s recommended in the strategy books.
However, if you ask professional poker players what they want most from a tournament field, they will say, “Plenty of amateur players”. The prospect of being sent packing by an amateur is just a risk they are prepared to take.
On the other hand, it is every recreational player’s dream to get to cross swords with the game’s top talents. Poker is unique among high-level sporting or intellectual pursuits in the way it allows these contests to happen. And the PSPC provides the perfect playing field.
In short, canvass any poker player from any level and they’ll agree: this is the tournament they want to play above any other.
AN ENORMOUS FIELD
As with any poker tournament, there’s no indication yet specifically how many players will be involved. All we know at this stage is that there are more than 420 Platinum Pass holders. Which means more than $10.2 million is already guaranteed in the prize pool.
The inaugural PSPC, held in January 2019, attracted 1,039 players and became the biggest ever tournament with a buy-in of $25,000. The total prize pool was nearly $26.5 million, with the winner earning $5.1 million.
There were 320 Platinum Pass holders in that field.
There are solid indications, therefore, that the second iteration of the PSPC will break the existing record. Nobody is counting any chickens. But the appetite for live poker is healthy, as witnessed by bumper fields at EPT Prague in December.
Everyone is hopeful for another sensational turnout, where there might be close to $30 million to play for.
A STUNNING SETTING
Nobody is going to say no to a trip to the Bahamas in January. But the added attraction this time around is a whole new resort.
Regular visitors to the PCA in previous years will have grown accustomed to driving past a massive construction site en route to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, perhaps wondering when it would ever be finished.
But that site is now the Baha Mar Resort, and it is indeed now completed and open for business. All reports suggest it’s more luxurious than Atlantis, with better food and drink options, and improved service.
The poker room is perfect: big, well appointed and with everything all players could possibly want close by.
This is the first time PokerStars has hosted an event at Baha Mar. But it already seems likely to be somewhere we’ll visit many times in the future. It’s going to be so exciting to be there for the very first chapter.
A STORY CERTAIN TO CAPTURE THE IMAGINATION WORLDWIDE
After Ramon Colillas won the first PSPC back in 2019, the world’s media couldn’t get enough. Colillas was in newspapers and on TV shows as the latest poker superstar. An heir to the ultimate rags-to-riches hero Chris Moneymaker.
Colillas, of course, had won the title after getting into the event thanks to his Platinum Pass. It catapulted the Spanish gym instructor from keen amateur to established pro, even joining the ranks of Team PokerStars. The stories wrote themselves.
The three-year gap since the last PSPC has only served to heighten anticipation for this second event. Journalists and film crews from across the world are drooling at the prospect of reporting on their local hero slaying the giants and becoming the next Colillas. The stories from the Bahamas this time are similarly set to be thrilling.
And remember, the PokerStars live stream will be running through all five day of PSPC action. And the PokerStars Blog will also be there catching the stories that don’t make it to screen.
In short, poker’s David vs Goliath is the one to watch — and it’ll be even better to play.Back to Top